Cruise Holidays - Attheta Travel

I am proud to be certified by CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) as an Elite Cruise Counselor. The Cruise Counselor Certification Program is CLIA's most comprehensive training which requires agents to successfully complete a number of compulsory training courses and exams, attend cruise conferences, and conduct ship inspections. Anita Thompson, Attheta Travel, dba Cruise Holidays.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Cruising Africa

With almost 19,000 miles of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean, Africa offers a lot to discover via cruise ship. This massive continent has everything from sand dunes to deep forests, bustling marketplaces, animal-viewing safaris, and more. With such a wide array of cultures, people, landscapes, and wildlife, a cruise can be a good way to begin to get acquainted.

Some cruise ports in northern Africa – such as Alexandria, Egypt, and Tangier, Morocco – may be included on itineraries that also visit European and Middle Eastern ports around the Mediterranean. And, some cruise ships call on one or two African ports as part of a longer regional voyage, world cruise, or repositioning cruise. But there are some Africa-only itineraries, which often sail around the southern half of the continent. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular ports there.

At Walvis Bay, Namibia, the Namib Desert meets the Atlantic Ocean, forming pristine lagoons that are home to thousands of pink flamingos. You can take an adventurous excursion into the desert or a leisurely sail around the bay, watching seals play and snacking on fresh oysters.

Cape Town, South Africa, perches on a scenic peninsula where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Browse the shops along the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, ride a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, or join an excursion to Two Oceans Aquarium or a local winery.

The sophisticated city of Durban, South Africa, is separated from the Indian Ocean by a lovely strip of golden beach. Enjoy a daytime safari, learn about Zulu culture, or visit the local botanical gardens and spice markets.

The small volcanic island of Nosy Be which lies just off the northwest coast of Madagascar has eleven crater lakes. There’s also an array of unusual wildlife, including black lemurs and frogs smaller than a dime. The Lokobe Nature Reserve, numerous hiking trails, and beautiful dive sites offer plenty of outdoor adventure.

Cruise lines that call on African ports include Cunard, MSC, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, and Silversea. Some river cruise lines, such as AmaWaterways, also operate in Africa: you can spend some time viewing wildlife along the Chobe River in Botswana, or on the Zambezi River which creates the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Be sure to talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, about all of the options for cruising in and around Africa.

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Monday, July 24, 2023

Wonderful Shore Excursions

To help passengers make the most of their time in port, cruise lines offer shore excursions – a selection of fun, educational, and/or adventurous activities on land. For example, beach and snorkeling excursions are popular in the Caribbean, while tours of historic city centers are common in Europe. All shore excursions offer memorable experiences; it’s not every day you can swim with dolphins, tour an ancient fort or view masterpieces in a museum far from home.

The specific excursions available on any cruise depend on where it sails, but here are a few examples that may catch your interest.

A partnership between Holland America Line and Food & Wine magazine offers culinary shore excursions in many destinations, including Northern Europe and the North Atlantic. You can discover the Danish art of smorrebrod – beautiful and delicious open-based sandwiches – or how a distillery in Iceland infuses flavors like rhubarb and crowberry into a variety of spirits.

When you sail to Sri Lanka with Azamara Cruises, you can take an excursion to Udawalawe National Park, which has a thriving herd of more than 500 elephants. You may also see wild boar, mongoose, crocodiles, and buffalo, as well as many species of birds and butterflies.

Silversea sails to Osaka, Japan, where you can take an excursion to Hikone Castle, one of only five in Japan designated as a national treasure. Completed in 1622, the moated castle, considered to be a masterpiece of design, hosts a cherry blossom festival every spring.

Sail to Costa Rica with Windstar Cruises and you can discover what rural life is like in this beautiful country. Venture into the Fila Chonta Mountains to meet the residents of Santa Juana and learn about life in their village; plus, you can fish for tilapia or cool off under a waterfall.

There’s usually a per-person fee for shore excursions, but some luxury cruise lines include some or all shore excursions in your fare. Some lines even have a special concierge who can arrange individual, customized shore excursions.

And while some cruise passengers like to arrange their own shore excursions, taking a ship-sponsored excursion is often a better option. Cruise lines work with reputable and experienced tour operators. And, if your ship-sponsored excursion runs a little late, the ship will wait for you. That’s not always true if you’re on an independently arranged excursion.

Cruise lines constantly come up with new options for shore excursions; for the latest information, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, July 17, 2023

Choosing Your Cruise Ship Cabin

Part of making a cruise reservation is choosing the specific cabin you want to stay in. And there’s more to think about than whether you want an inside (windowless) cabin or an outside cabin (most have a window or balcony).

While there’s no one “best” cabin location, there may be a location that’s best for you. Most cruise lines show cabin locations on their online deck plans; ask your professional travel advisor to help you look around and make your choice. There’s a lot to consider, including your budget, your desire for a view, the distance to the nearest elevator, how many companions you’re sailing with, how soundly you sleep, and more.

First, think about where you want to be along the length of the ship. Toward the front, the outside cabins may have a bit more space – and excellent, forward-facing views – due to the curvature of the ship. The middle of the ship is usually the most stable; you won’t feel the waves as much as you could in the front or back. Toward the back, as in the front, the cabins may be a little more spacious, and the outside cabins often have the largest balconies on board.

Then, decide what deck you want to be on. Lower decks can offer economical options and less sway, though the outside cabins may have just a small porthole window. On higher decks, the size of the windows in the outside cabins usually increases, and cabins with balconies are located well above the water line. Just remember that the motion of the ship is usually more noticeable the higher you go; the cost of your fare will probably rise, too.

Finally, check on what’s adjacent to your cabin. That includes what’s on each side (which may be another cabin, an elevator, a laundry, or another service area), as well as what’s above and below. If you’re adjacent to a pool, activity deck, elevator shaft, crew service area, restaurant, or entertainment venue, you may hear some noise at times. Also check the location of the ship’s anchor, which can make a surprising amount of noise when it’s dropped and retracted.

After you reserve a cabin, you might be able to change your mind as long as cabins in your preferred location are still available. But there may be a charge when you change. So, choose your cabin wisely, then get ready to sail!

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Monday, July 10, 2023

Where to Sail in December

Summer’s warmth is here, but it’s never too early to think about escaping December’s chill on a wonderful cruise. A cruise vacation can also be a great way to celebrate the December holidays; consider it a gift to yourself.

So, where should you sail? While there are a variety of destination options, your choice may depend on how much time you have available to cruise. If you have just a few days, there are some “close to home” destinations that may fit. If you have a week, two weeks, or more, there’s a wider array of cruises to choose from.

Close-to-home options include The Bahamas. It’s less than 200 miles from Miami to Nassau, but the soft white sand and turquoise waters of the islands can make you believe you’re much farther away. You can cruise there and back in as little as two or three days or choose a longer cruise that calls on some Caribbean ports, too.

You can also take a short cruise from the West Coast to the warm and beautiful Mexican Riviera. Visit iconic ports along the Pacific coast, such as Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco; a longer cruise can take you to Cabo San Lucas as well. If you sail in December, watch for whales as they migrate from north to south.

If you have a week or more to cruise, there are lots of choices in the Caribbean, including St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and other beautiful islands in the Eastern Caribbean; the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) of the Southern Caribbean; or the Western Caribbean, which features Mexico’s Cozumel, Cancun and Riviera Maya. Whichever you choose, the weather will be like summer.

If you have a bit more time, the Southern Hemisphere offers spectacular destinations. You can sail the Atlantic coast of South America, visiting historic cities like Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay; or the scenic Pacific coast, with ports like Valparaiso, Chile (the capital of Santiago is nearby), and Lima, Peru.

For an adventurous December, visit the amazing wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, including blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises. Or take the cruise of a lifetime to the cold but beautiful continent of Antarctica.

There are even more options for December cruises, including a cruise on the Amazon River, among the islands of the South Pacific, or along the beautiful coastlines of Southeast Asia. For more information on these and other destinations, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.

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Monday, July 3, 2023

Serene Adults-Only Spaces on Cruise Ships

Cruising with kids can be great because family-oriented cruise ships offer so many ways to have fun together. Still, adults may need a place to spend a little quiet time without the activity and noise that kids (your own or others) can generate.

Fortunately, in addition to spaces just for kids and teens, many ships have a special area or two just for adults. Here are some to look for on popular cruise lines.

Adults who sail on most of Royal Caribbean’s ships can find quiet time in The Solarium. This glass-enclosed space has padded loungers, hot tubs, and a wading pool. It also has its own bar and restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so it’s possible to spend an entire peaceful day there.

On Princess Cruises, The Sanctuary is a shaded, airy space with comfortable loungers. It’s staffed by Serenity Stewards who can provide water misters, refreshing beverages, and light snacks. There are also cabanas for rent, where you can enjoy a massage and help yourself from the minibar.

Disney Cruises has an adult refuge called the Quiet Cove Pool. Visitors can relax in the pool or whirlpool, then stretch out on a lounger to sip a specialty coffee or cocktail. On two Disney ships, the Dream and the Fantasy, the Quiet Cove area includes Satellite Falls, a special pool that features a gentle curtain of falling water. Disney Cruises ships have some adults-only restaurants for kid-free date nights, too.

They transform into dance clubs at night, but by day the Posh Beach Club and Vibe Beach Club are Norwegian Cruise Line’s quiet adult retreats. They have loungers, hot tubs, and waterfalls, as well as chilled face towels, water spritzers, a full-service bar, and fresh fruit to snack on.

Some of these adults-only oases of calm are complimentary, and some charge a small fee for a half-day or full day of access. The age definition of “adult” varies, though it’s often 18 and older.

On most cruise ships, adults who want a short break from kids can also seek out the fitness center, spa, casino, cocktail lounge, and other spaces that restrict or don’t allow children. If you have a choice of dinner seating times, go later for a more adult environment.

And if you wish to cruise completely child-free, consider an adults-only line like Virgin Voyages or Viking Ocean Cruises. Anita, yourprofessional travel advisor, can provide more information and advice.

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